8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market We’ve written a lot this year about the boom in e-readers and the benefits that e-books have over print. And often, discussions surrounding the move to digital texts involves our enhanced ability to read and store our libraries, particularly via mobile devices. But a new project available in Google Labs today – Books Ngram Viewer – highlights some of the other benefits of digitizing texts beyond better reading and storage. So let me invoke my former life as a literature PhD student here to say, “This is incredibly farking cool.”Visualizing the History of the Usage of 500 Billion WordsUsing Google’s Books Ngram Viewer, you can now visualize how language and literature have changed over time, by searching a subset of the more than 15 million books that Google has digitized since 2004. All told, today’s datasets contain more than 500 billion words from 5.2 million books in Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. The datasets contain phrases of up to five words with counts of how often these occurred each year, providing a great deal of insight – for scholars and casual word hounds – into how language usage changes over time. The datasets were the basis of a research project led by Harvard University’s Jean-Baptiste Michel and Erez Lieberman Aiden and published today in Science that demonstrates how quantitative analysis of texts can offer new insights into areas including censorship, technology adoption, and cultural memory. And now Google has put that visualization tool into everyone’s hands, along with the ability to download the raw data.Language, Literature, Culture Over TimeTake the word “farking” that I used above. Usage of the word has risen and fallen over the years, skyrocketing not surprisingly once it became the curse-du-jour in the reprised Battlestar Galactica series. If that’s too pedestrian, compare the changing usage for spaceship, spacecraft, rocket, and UFO. Or the frequency of communism, anarchism, socialism, and capitalism over the course of the twentieth century. Or the decline of man. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting audrey watters Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… New Quantitative Tools for ScholarsBy mining this data, scholars are able to shed new light onto many things we’ve long assumed about literature, language and culture. According to Dan Cohen, the Director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University (whose work on the datasets, specifically the Victorian era, was featured in a recent article in The New York Times), the release of the Ngram Viewer is a “real win” as it provides “an easy-to-use research site and, even better, the raw data behind it.” This is an incredible amount of data, a boon to researchers in both the humanities and social sciences. as well as a pretty fun tool for the more casual lit-geeks and word-lovers among us. Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Google#web
In the other corner…Raymer responded with a jab, aiming to connect quickly and thus take some of the impact out of Krigger’s blow. His article, titled, Don’t Blame the ASHRAE 62.2-2010 Standard, disputed Krigger’s claim that ASHRAE moved away from simplicity when they revised the standard from their first version, 62-89. That early version, he wrote, was 26 pages long, while the 2010 standard is only 14. “The ASHRAE 62-89 Standard is no longer supported by ASHRAE partly because of its complexity,” Raymer explained.He then went into some of the details of the two versions of the standard, offering a nice contrast between how they really work. One important point that many in the home performance and weatherization field probably don’t know is that, “there is nothing in the 62-89 Standard about calculating a Building Airflow Standard, Building Tightness Limit, Minimum Ventilation Level, etc.” Those terms come from the programs that reference the standard. I went to school with Cajuns in south Louisiana, and fights were a big deal. They happened frequently, and when they did, a small crowd would gather. The noise would grow quickly and soon everyone in the schoolyard would run over to where the fight was happening. One day in sixth grade, we exploited this tendency and staged a fight between two shoes at recess. Sure enough — our tight circle of boys banging two shoes on the ground and making a lot of noise brought the whole school to us.Today, I’m making noise for a fight that broke out over the topic of residential ventilation. This is a real fight among two heavyweights in the home performance industry: John Krigger of Saturn Resource Management and Paul Raymer of Heyoka Solutions.Don’t worry; it’s not a Jon Stewart/Tucker Carlson kind of fight or something you might see on the Jerry Springer show. These guys respect each other and even teach classes together. It’s a very real debate, though, about fixing homes, making them tighter, and adding mechanical ventilation when necessary. In this corner…Krigger opened the battle recently with a roundhouse punch aimed at ASHRAE and the latest versions of their residential ventilation standard. “ASHRAE 62.2-2010 is a confusing jumble of requirements and choices that has wasted vast amounts of time and money in training personnel and coping with confusion,” he wrote. Krigger doesn’t like it that so much time and money is being spent in the home performance and weatherization industry to train people on this standard. Now the requirements ares about to change again with the 2013 update, “which will be different and lead to another cycle of confusion and wasted resources,” according to Krigger. He believes there’s no reason to move away from the 62-89 version because the older version is much simpler.In addition, he claims that the assumptions on which they’ve based the changes in the standard are questionable; he lists four problems at the end of his article. I’ll let you go and read them and decide for yourself, but I will mention one here. He wrote that, “There are millions of respiratory problems relating to a lack of ventilation.” When I posted a link to the article on LinkedIn, Bobby Rhett, an industrial hygienist in the Washington, D.C. area, replied, “We may not always have the source of asthma pinned, but there is evidence that improving ventilation improves asthma outcomes.” Blower doors and mechanical ventilationOne problem here is that weatherization and home performance crews are trying to use blower doors to determine if they need to add mechanical ventilation. Joe Lstiburek wrote about this issue in his article Just Right and Airtight. After opening with praise for using a blower door to help make homes more airtight and to measure leakage, he then wrote:But then they think that a blower door actually is a precise measuring tool for how air will leak across the building during service. Wrong. Even more serious an issue is to then take the leap that using a wrong assumption about the results of an approximate measurement can be used to decide that mechanical ventilation is not needed. Bad, very bad, and potentially deadly.I wrote about the problems with ACHnat here recently, and that’s what Joe’s referring to above. What he says they do at Building Science Corporation is, “To me, the ventilate right part is easy: put in a ventilation system and pick a rate.” In footnote 4 of that article, he describes that their method is to install a system that’s capable of providing 1.5 times the ventilation rate recommended by the latest version of ASHRAE 62.2.This is an important debate because we want homes to be have less air leakage. We also want them to have good indoor air quality, and that means mechanical ventilation. Krigger makes some good points about all the resources going into training for ASHRAE 62.2, but the time has come to drop the Building Airflow Standard and stop pretending that blower doors can tell us how much mechanical ventilation a home needs. RELATED ARTICLES Designing a Good Ventilation SystemHRV or ERV? GBA Encyclopedia: Ventilation Choices Just Right and Airtight Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. How many rounds will it go?In case you don’t know who they are, both Krigger and Raymer are heavyweights in this field. Krigger is the author of the book Residential Energy, which is used, I imagine, in nearly every building analyst and home energy rater class in the U.S.Raymer is the author of the Residential Ventilation Handbook, which covers the whole topic extensively. He’s also on the ASHRAE committee that decides what goes into the 62.2 standard and issues the new version every three years.How we ventilate homes is a big deal and far from settled. ASHRAE 62.2 is leading the way, but as you can tell from this fight, there is pushback from some of the people who have to apply the standard in the field. The Building Performance Institute (BPI) was supposed to drop 62-89 and adopt 62.2-2010 this month but released a statement on 28 December announcing they’d postponed that change.Both of these guys make good points, but I have to side with Paul on this issue overall. I think BPI should have dropped 62-89 long ago, and to keep postponing it only makes it worse, as more people get trained on an obsolete standard that was created in the 1980s. John definitely makes some good points, and I think we can do a better job of considering the training aspect of applying standards. Part of that falls on the organizations that adopt the standard, too.Paul’s basically right, though, that we need to go with the newer version. Yes, it needs work, but the three-year cycle is getting us there.This is an important battle in the Building Science Fight Club. It’s not just a bunch of sixth graders banging shoes on the ground to get attention. We need to ventilate homes to improve indoor air quality, and we need to be able to do it cost-effectively. Debate and discussion are healthy, and we need to keep it going. I’d love to see John and Paul do an evening session at the RESNET conference this year and continue this debate.
Building codes, especially those related to energy efficiency, have improved a lot over the years. With building enclosures, this has made a big difference. We now have more insulation, less thermal bridging, and tested air barriers. On the mechanical side, the improvements are significant — reduced duct leakage and mechanical ventilation in airtight homes — but there’s still a gap between some code requirements and what’s being installed.But that gap isn’t my focus today. Instead I’ll spell out what those HVAC design requirements are. But first, let me say a little about how building codes work. At the highest level are the model codes. The major player in this arena is the International Code Council (ICC), and I’ll focus on two of their codes that include HVAC design requirements for homes: the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Of course, when you build a home, you’ll have to meet the requirements of your local building department, which probably uses one of the I-codes, perhaps with some modifications.On the topic of HVAC design, the IRC has more detail than the IECC, as you might expect. Also, the IECC just repeats some of the major requirements from the IRC.Equipment sizingBoth the IRC and the IECC say the same thing here:Equipment sizing and efficiency rating (Mandatory). Heating and cooling equipment shall be sized in accordance with ACCA Manual S based on building loads calculated in accordance with ACCA Manual J or other approved heating and cooling calculation methodologies. New or replacement heating and cooling equipment shall have an efficiency rating equal to or greater than the minimum required by federal law for the geographic location where the equipment is installed.That’s section N1103.7 in the IRC and R403.7 in the IECC, and it’s exactly the same in both the 2015 and 2018 codes. The main alternative to the ACCA Manual J load calculation protocol would be to use the ASHRAE Handbook of Fundamentals.In plain English, this requirement simply means that heating and cooling systems in homes have to be sized according to approved protocols. That’s Manual J from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) for calculating the heating and cooling loads of the house and Manual S, also from ACCA, for determining the capacity of the equipment needed to meet those loads. (A little reminder: Loads and capacity are different things. The former tells you what the building needs; the latter tells you what the equipment supplies.)Duct designGetting the home’s heating and cooling loads (Manual J) are the first step. Figuring out what equipment capacity to use (Manual S) is the second step. Some contractors go that far and then revert to rules of thumb for one of the most critical steps: designing the distribution system. If you’re going with an air distribution system (as opposed to hydronic), getting the proper air flow is critical. Here’s what the IRC says:M1601.1 Duct design. Duct systems serving heating, cooling and ventilation equipment shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of this section and ACCA Manual D, the appliance manufacturer’s installation instructions or other approved methods.This is the same in both the 2015 and 2018 versions. I wrote a multi-part explanation of the Manual D process last year, explaining how the available static pressure, total effective length, and friction rate determine the duct sizes you need to use to get the right air flow.The IRC has a lot of other requirements for duct design, too. For example, it allows the use of stud or joist cavities in walls and floors to be used for return air but not supply air (M1601.1.1). And it’s forbidden to supply conditioned air to a garage using the same system that supplies conditioned air to the living spaces (M1601.6). (That last one is a big no-no that can easily contaminate the indoor air with pollutants from the garage or carbon monoxide created by backdrafting a water heater.)Whole-house mechanical ventilationAirtight homes need mechanical ventilation. Building scientists have known this for a long time. Now it’s in the building codes. I don’t know when it first showed up, but it’s been in the IRC at least since 2012. Here’s how it’s stated in the 2018 IRC:R303.4 Mechanical ventilation. Where the air infiltration rate of a dwelling unit is 5 air changes per hour or less where tested with a blower door at a pressure of 0.2 inch w.c (50 Pa) in accordance with Section N1184.108.40.206, the dwelling unit shall be provided with whole-house mechanical ventilation in accordance with Section M1505.4.Georgia has been subject to this requirement for several years now, ever since we went on the 2012 IRC. We also require homes to have an airtightness of less than 7 ACH50. That means some builders have been aiming for what they see as the “sweet spot” of less than 7 ACH50 but greater than 5 ACH50. They meet both the IRC and IECC requirements for Georgia that way and aren’t required to add mechanical ventilation. (We’re still on the 2009 IECC here.)The good news for whole-house ventilation afficionados is that the airtightness requirements in the 2015 and 2018 IECC eliminate that “sweet spot.” The maximum air leakage allowed in IECC climate zones 1 and 2 is 5 ACH50 and in climate zones 3 through 8 is 3 ACH50. (That’s in section R402.4.1.2 of the 2015 & 2018 IECC.)Sections N1103.6 and M1505 in the IRC have some other requirements for ventilation, too. Here are a few highlights:Mechanical ventilation fans have to meet minimum efficacy levels in cfm/watt. (N1103.6.1)If the air handler is the main fan for the whole-house ventilation system, the blower has to be powered by and electronically-commutated motor. (N1103.6.1)The ventilation rate required in the 2018 IRC is calculated by the familiar equation: Rate = (0.01 x conditioned floor area) + [7.5 x (number of bedrooms +1)]. That’s the basic equation from the 2010 version of the ASHRAE 62.2 standard. (M1505.4.3)Getting into the code is the first step…These things are a good first step. But there are a couple of other critical steps that have to follow. First, the IRC and IECC have to be adopted by states and local jurisdictions. I’ve been involved in the push to get Georgia to move to the 2015 IECC, and it’s not a fun process. We spent almost a year working through the issues, compromising on some of the items, and then getting the whole thing delayed another two years.And second, there’s enforcement. Building code officials have their hands full, and the majority of them don’t have the time or the resources to learn what they need to know to understand the reports they get. Some don’t bother with Manual J, S, and D reports at all. Some put forth a good effort but don’t know enough about what to look for in the reports.Once they get adopted into the local codes and building officials start enforcing them, HVAC design requirements in the code are kind of like locks on doors. They won’t keep criminals out. They’re just there to guide the honest folks in the industry. My hope is that we’re going to get to a point where the pressure to do things the right way will break through the activation barrier. That pressure is coming from a number of directions: the Internet, building codes, and green building programs, especially. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.
Related Posts Why You Love Online Quizzes Tags:#Anonymous#hackers#politics#privacy How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? In a publicity bid this week, German website Populeaks.org announced The NRA Bet, challenging the National Rifle Association – in fractured English – to use its guns to “keep all non-public data a secret till April 30, 2013.” If the NRA manages to protect its data, the site promises to provide two unrequested staffers to provide unwanted services – in this case, helping to polish 500 guns at the NRA’s next annual meeting. I’m sure Wayne LaPierre is thrilled. “The NRA Bet” may never amount to much. It’s not as if Populeaks, which was created only three months ago, can really call down the fury of a mighty hacker horde.Source: http://www.g4tv.com/hurlStill, by framing its call to action as a humorous contest, Populeaks staggers across an interesting point. What if instead of threats, hactivism groups tried offering their targets something they wanted in return for complying with their demands (er, requests)? And what if instead of anger and outrage, the conversation included a little humor and satire? Would that kind of lighter approach be more likely to achieve the desired results? Or at least make the hacktivists more likable?PopuWHO?First things first: You might be asking “What the hell is Populeaks?” That’s an excellent question. According to its About Us page:POPULEAKS confronts governments, corporations and non-governmental organizations with the assertions made by our whistleblowers – and demands substantiated replies or information within a time window of ten days. In order to increase people’s readiness to respond, POPULEAKS informs up to 6,000 journalists and bloggers from its custom media mailing list – at the same time it receives an inquiry – and publishes the full text of the inquiry, word-for-word, on www.populeaks.org.In other words, the site encourages users to spam it with gossip, attempts to force the subjects of the gossip to reply, then turns around and spams “6,000 media contacts” (including us), hoping to get coverage. It’s an annoying business model, and it’s highly unlikely you’ll see the group mentioned here again unless it actually breaks some news. But the tactics employed in this particular case (which actually has nothing to do with PopuLeaks’ stated whistleblower mission) are worth a look. Taming The Shame GamePublic shaming by the hacktivist community is hardly new. Anonymous has made a fetish of it, following grand pronouncements about unchecked corporate greed and disregard of the common man with threats to tear down Facebook, Egypt and Iran, among others.Demand => Threat => Resolution. It’s a time-tested formula that’s been around since the Greek siege of Troy (probably since Gok threatened Gom with a rock if he didn’t quit hogging the mastodon leg). The problem is that after a few years of constantly threatening people, you kind of seem like a jerk, particularly if you have to follow through on your threats. Facebook may or may not be evil, but if you’re the one keeping the masses from sharing their kitten videos, you’re the bad guy.Groups like Anonymous tread a fine line between Robin Hood and (in the words of BreitBart.com) “terrorist” in the court of public opinion. Mixing it up could help the hactivists’ image. Populeaks is an unknown site, and the NRA Bet isn’t even particularly witty or creative – or even coherent. Overall, it’s pretty low-rent, and offers nothing of value to the NRA.But if someone with a bit more street cred offered to do something useful, relevant and funny if their target complied with their requests, we might actually see some progress.Friendly rivalries and side bets with conservative pundits like Bill O’Reilly and Mike Huckabee have earned Jon Stewart and the Daily Show a legitimate place in the political discussion, increased everyone’s likability and actually put substantive political discussions back on the air. Maybe injecting some of that into the cyber-rights battlefield wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I bet the EFF’s leaders would gladly pump gas for a week at a Chevron station if the company would drop its lawsuits and admit it was wrong about Ecuador.There will always be intractable situations that call for severe responses, but dangling a few carrots couldn’t hurt. Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock. cormac foster 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid
Tags:#ISP#Netflix While the U.S. does have a whopping ten ISPs that clear the 2 Mbps threshold, it still has seven providers that fall below that, with Clearwire at the bottom coming in 0.5 Mbps slower than Mexico’s Axtel, which clocked in at 1.30Mbps. With 17 ISPs on Netflix’s list (and a slew of smaller companies scattered all across the country), that gives us one of the most competitive ISP markets on the planet, making it a shame that we can’t all get the speeds of Google Fiber, or at least in the 2 Mbps range. Take Google Fiber out of the equation, however, and average U.S. speeds drop to 1.8 Mbps from a reasonably strong 2.3 Mbps. That’s only 0.1 Mbps faster than Ireland, and 0.2 Mbps speedier than Mexico, which is last on the list. Finland and Sweden, by contrast, blow away the non-Fiber U.S. with respective speeds of 2.57 Mbps and 2.51 Mbps. Which gives you a sense of just how weak most U.S. ISPs are, even in a not-quite-global comparison.Image courtesy of Shutterstock In the world of Netflix’s new “global” ISP speed index, which the streaming-video service announced Monday, the U.S. takes top honors for fastest connection thanks to Google Fiber, while speedy competitors like Sweden’s Ownit and Finland’s KYMP come in second and third.Meanwhile, in the real world, the Netflix global index is really nothing of the sort. For one thing, Google Fiber, which offers service to a fraction of exactly one U.S. city, isn’t exactly representative of the nation’s Internet as a whole. For another, the Netflix index doesn’t even include powerhouses like Korea and Japan, which routinely kick ass in global Internet-speed comparisons.Of course, Netflix doesn’t offer service in Asia, and that’s your first clue that its Internet speed index has been assembled for reasons that have little to do with straightforward comparisons of global Internet speeds.Netflix itself is relatively open about this. It describes its data as a way to “give you monthly insight into which ISPs deliver the best Netflix experience.” And that’s your second clue as to what Netflix is really up to here.Netflix has long been prodding ISPs to join its Open Connect content delivery system, which it describes as a dedicated, low-cost video-file distribution system. Many big ISPs in the U.S., however, have resisted Open Connect, even when Netflix began making streams of 3D and high-definition video available only to customers of Open Connect ISPs. Of course, many ISPs offer their own video-on-demand services that effectively compete with Netflix, too.Coincidentally or not, broadband providers Google Fiber, Cablevision and Suddenlink, all three of which have signed on to Open Connect, happen to top Netflix’s U.S. Speed Index. So it’s not hard to imagine that Netflix’s newfound interest in providing consumer information about ISP speeds just might have something to do with pushing its content delivery network to as many companies as possible. Especially since Netflix has been known to enlist its customers to call their ISPs for this very purpose.Without Fiber, The U.S. Is Near The BottomWhile the speeds posted on Netflix’s index are far lower than the ISPs themselves would normally claim, the streaming service explains it this way:The average is well below the peak performance due to many factors including home Wi-Fi, the variety of devices our members use, and the variety of encodes we use to deliver the TV shows and movies we carry. Those factors cancel out when comparing across ISPs, so these relative rankings are a good indicator of the consistent performance typically experienced across all users on an ISP network. nick statt Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting
Tags:#Internet of Things#search brian proffitt Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting CNN, true to its alarmist nature, recently described Shodan as the “The scariest search engine on the Internet” – and indeed, there are some disturbing aspects to using Shodan. Entering the search term “cisco-ios last-modified” – a term suggested by Shodan itself as popular – reveals a number of Cisco-based devices on the Internet that had not been updated in a very long time. Such devices could be very vulnerable to attack through well-known exploits.Shodan exposes what security experts have known for a long time: a lot of devices connected to the Internet have been largely forgotten even as they continue chugging along performing tasks that range from mundane to mission-critical.But Shodan, while interesting, will probably not represent the future of searching Internet of Things. Instead, as the world around us “wakes up” and becomes increasingly connected to the Internet, the world will talk to us without our having to look for it.When The World Touches YouHere is one vision of how this potential future might work:Imagine, says J Schwan, CEO of Solstice Mobile, walking into an office building in which you are a maintenance technician about to start your day. Over the course of the previous day and evening, various tickets were filed by the building’s tenants (or maybe even by the devices themselves): a squeaky door here, a hiccuping elevator there. An app on your phone lists the problems to be fixed – ordered by priority and optimized for maximum efficiency. This is a system that Solstice is working on now for clients.Other examples abound. A department store could be populated with products connected to the Internet via RFID tags. Customers could walk in, request a certain item, and see a map to that item’s exact location displayed on their phones. Or even see it as an augmented-reality display on their Google Glass or other wearable computer.The same store’s managers could use augmented-reality displays to view sales figures of the items the see on the shelves, perhaps in the form of a heat map that instantly indicates which items sell better in what position in the store. Just by speaking a couple words, they can have the stock room shift the position, or even update electronic price tags on the shelves to attract more buyers. Those price updates, by the way, then show up as alerts on shoppers’ devices.Not Far AwayThis world is not far off. Smartphones and other mobile devices can already tap into public search engines to discover more about the world around them. You can use augmented reality to see results displayed graphically on device screens.As more and more objects join the Internet, they’ll create information that will be added to the potential data you can receive, raising the level of information available by orders of magnitude. This will be both a boon (more data to help make decisions) and a curse (so much data you could drown).Searches, as active tasks, will become less needed – and less practical – as not just the Web, but the whole world around us will automatically send us information based on our preferences. And the questions we will have to ask will be far simpler and less arduous to construct.Instead of entering “2013 best televisions” in your browser to get back lots of data in the form of articles and content, you’ll be able to stand in the store and ask “which one of these TVs is the best for me for me right now?” and see the answers (based on your budget, space and other preferences) right in front of you.Knowing the tenacity of advertisers, you probably won’t even have to ask.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Related Posts As mobile devices dictate the terms of search and how results are being conveyed to end users, there’s another phenomenon that will greatly influence the future of search – very soon, we’re going to be swimming in more data than we will know what to do with.The rise of the Internet of Things means billions of physical objects will soon generate massive amounts of data 24 hours a day. Not only will this make traditional search methods nearly impossible to use, it will also create an environment where instead of looking for things in the world, those things will be seeking us out to give us all sorts of information that will help us fix, use or buy them.(See also Forget Searching For Content – Content Is About To Start Searching For You.)Search Collides With Internet Of ThingsWhen talking about the Internet of Things, it is important to get past the hype and explain exactly what it is: vast numbers of automated physical devices and objects connected to the Internet. These devices are usually routers, switches, phones… but increasingly devices like security cameras and remote climate sensors are being added – and over time we can expect everything from cars to refrigerators to join the party.(See also Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Internet Of Things.)At this moment in history, the relationship between search and devices on the Internet resembles the model of searching for Web content: you search for data from devices, and you get it.The Shodan search engine follows this model very well. Using Shodan is pretty much like using Google or any other search engine: enter your search string and up pops quite a few results matching devices that Shodan has found on the Web. Routers, cameras, municipal control systems… they’re all there to see. Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…
How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? lauren orsini Tags:#Citizen Developer#education#programming Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Related Posts Why You Love Online Quizzes If you ever wondered what would scare the bejeezus out of a university’s computer science department, try this: In June, Google revealed that it no longer considers GPA scores as a hiring criteria. “One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that GPA’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring,” Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations at Google, told the New York Times. To students who have been told their university grades are paramount, that’s a big shock. But to anybody watching the tech industry, such a statement was inevitable. It’s a reaction to the quickly evolving definition of what it means to be a professional programmer.The “Citizen Developer”When Google executives look at prospective hires’ portfolios instead of test scores, it expands the playing field beyond “anyone with a degree” to “anyone with skills.” Google no longer cares whether you picked up coding in school or just by teaching yourself, so long as you have the work and talent to back it up. It’s a phenomenon that the tech world is calling the rise of the “citizen developer.” A phrase coined by technology research firm Gartner, the citizen developer is “an end user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT.” Or, in less of a mouthful, a non-traditionally educated programmer who uses the same skills as the formally trained pros. Back in 2011, Gartner predicted that by 2014, citizen developers would build at least 25 percent of new business applications. Two years later, we associate programming success with college dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, or with people like Tumblr CEO David Karp, who didn’t even enroll in college. See also Don’t Look Now, But We Might Be In A Developer DroughtThe sort of creativity and problem solving that allows star programmers to succeed isn’t exactly encouraged in the artificial and conforming environment of a college classroom. So it makes sense that Google would look outside the GPA for the best talent. Tons of Jobs, Few DevelopersImagine if you could learn a skill that would practically guarantee you a high-paying job within months. Increasingly, that’s exactly the narrative that surrounds non-traditional programming education. At Code Fellows, if you don’t have a job offer that pays $60K a year within six months of completing their four-week boot camp, you get a full refund. A 2012 Living Social effort called Hungry Academy actually paid people to attend their five-month boot camp and learn to program for Living Social. Boot camps and other forms of non-traditional programming education can afford to be cocky for the very reason that the job market supports such bravado. In 2010, there were 913,000 U.S. jobs for software developers and that number is expected to grow by 30% from 2012 to 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, the predicted rise for all occupational growth over that same period is just 14%. As our dependence on technology only grows, our demand for developers is increasing. At a time where the average developer gets four to five job offers in her career, that means some companies are going without. The Self-Taught Coding MovementIt certainly helps that opportunities for teaching yourself to code are more numerous, convenient and accessible than ever. Combine that with widespread alarm about student loan debt, and you can instantly see the appeal of self-teaching. See also There’s A Boom In Teaching People To CodeRyan Carson, CEO of Treehouse, said that the coding education company has reached the milestone of 37,000 active, paying students—about the size of a large university. Not surprisingly, he thinks companies like Treehouse offer a better education than traditional degrees would. “A computer science degree is a rip off,” he told me. “I know because I have one.”The difference? Carson says Treehouse has the data to prove whether students are ready for the workforce, something colleges can’t do. It does this through a point system that awards students for completing assignments on Treehouse.“We’ve placed thousands of students in programming jobs, and the companies who hire them report back to us,” he said. “So we can say with authority that if you get 1500 points on Treehouse, we can place you in a job where you’ll have an 80% chance of success. And you just can’t do that now in universities.”What About Traditional Education?Not surprisingly, college professors believe as much in the longevity of the computer science degree as entrepreneurs like Carton believe in non-traditional learning. See also: Why Programming Is The Core Skill Of The 21st CenturyHowever, Francois Pitt, a senior lecturer at the University of Toronto, told me that learn-to-code boot camps aren’t even competition to a computer science degree because they have completely different end goals. “It’s not so much competition with us as a complement,” he said. “Programming is just the starting point of what computer science is about. We don’t just teach students how to code. We study programs and the problems they solve.”Pitt compares the difference between having a computer science degree and knowing how to program as the difference between being a professional writer and knowing how to write. The important thing isn’t so much that you know English, but that you have interesting ideas and know how to structure them well, he said. There’s something romantic about Pitt’s description of computer science’s in-depth theories. The difference students are going to have to look for? Whether they want the whole story or just a job ASAP. “People getting into these programs need to realize that you’re not getting the same education as you would out of a degree,” he said. “Computer science is about so much more than just programming.”Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Amazon is actively refusing orders and discouraging people from buying books from the publisher Hachette, the New York Times reports. The pressure tactics reportedly stem from failed contract negotiations between Amazon and Hachette; authors have been feeling the pressure for months.One of the books affected is Brad Stone’s The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, a book that Amazon apparently didn’t like much. Amazon has listed it as “unavailable” on its website. (Readers, however, seem to like the book—it currently has a 4.5 star rating.)It’s not just Stone’s book that’s suffering. Amazon has started refusing orders for other Hachette titles, including J.K. Rowling’s new novel. The Amazon listing pages for some other Hachette books have disappeared entirely. These tactics follow months in which Amazon has trimmed customer discounts, extended shipping times and sometimes suggested alternative titles in order to disadvantage Hachette titles.It wasn’t that long ago that Amazon was on the defensive. Last year, Apple was found guilty of conspiring with publishers to raise e-book prices in order to undercut Amazon.Original image by Carl Malamud on Flickr; edited by Selena Larson for ReadWrite A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… selena larson 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts Tags:#Amazon#Apple#author#ebooks#Hachette#Jeff Bezos#publishing
Intel announced on Monday plans to acquire computer vision startup Movidius for an undisclosed amount. It is one in a series of acquisitions from the chip giant, as it tries to capture emerging markets like artificial intelligence, big data, and the Internet of Things.Movidius was founded 11 years ago in Ireland and expanded into Silicon Valley a few years ago. In that time, it has worked on multiple projects, including drones, augmented reality, and Alphabet’s Project Tango.See Also: Will Intel’s Developer Forum highlight the future of IoT?In a blog post, Intel senior vice president and general manager, Josh Walden, said Movidius’ efforts would be integrated into RealSense, the company’s chip and camera system for AR, VR, and drones.“With Movidius, Intel gains low-power, high-performance SoC platforms for accelerating computer vision apps,” said Walden. “Additionally, this acquisition brings algorithms tuned for deep learning, depth processing, navigation and mapping, and natural interactions, as well as broad expertise in computer vision and machine intelligence.”“Movidius’ technology optimizes, enhances and brings RealSense capabilities to fruition,” he added.Nvidia has pulled ahead in the race to supply chipsets for VR and AR, with some manufacturers preferring the Taiwanese company’s focus on graphics rather than performance. Intel has seen the same issues in the artificial intelligence market, where Nvidia can provide better performance for photo and video than Intel chips.Intel acquiring it its way into AR and VRIntel is trying to fix this shortcoming by acquiring specialized suppliers and creating new divisions for emerging technologies. The recent acquisition of Nervana Systems, an AI startup, shows its willing to spend millions to try and have a chance in the market.Part of the spending binge has to do with Intel’s failure in the mobile industry, where it lost billions to Qualcomm and Nvidia. The company did not spend a lot of time in the early days securing contracts with Apple, Samsung, and others, and it ended up crushing the once dominant chip manufacturer.Intel CEO Brian Krzanich is committed to not letting that happen again, and the acquisitions are proof of how serious the company is taking these new markets. Follow the Puck Tags:#AI#artificial intelligence#Computer Vision#Intel#Internet of Things#IoT#Movidius Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts David Curry What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua…
What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Sanjay Khatri The immense hype around the Internet of Things (IoT) certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by businesses, as IDC’s latest research revealed that 31% of companies surveyed have already deployed IoT, with another 43% looking to deploy within the next 12 months. However, a recent study from the IoT Institute shows that only 25% of businesses feel that they have a clear IoT strategy.What this data suggests is that businesses continue to rush into the IoT fray, but that many are doing so without asking the fundamental question of “Why?”See also: To predict the IoT future, it helps to look to the pastWithout an answer to that critical question, it’s hard to develop a clear business strategy around IoT. Are you pursuing IoT in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs? To introduce new revenue models? Or to deliver new services that enhance your customers’ experiences? Once you know what business outcomes you’re trying to accomplish, the business case for IoT is much easier to define.The industry has been talking a lot about “digital transformation” over the past couple of years, focusing on the efforts companies are undertaking to transform the way they do business based on new connected technologies. And IoT plays a key role in enabling this transformation for today’s businesses. So by identifying the clear business outcomes and goals you want to achieve with IoT, your roadmap to digital transformation becomes much clearer.Sanjay Khatri, Head of Platform Product Marketing, Cisco JasperWhen it comes to defining an IoT strategy, though, too often companies focus solely on how they are going to connect their assets or products. There seems to be a belief that if you connect them, the benefits will roll in.But IoT isn’t just about connecting things – it’s about engaging in a conversation.This is what’s most exciting about IoT (and what enables a true shift in the way you do business and make money) – the ability to have a constant conversation with the customers and end-users that utilize those assets and products. And do it in on a massively scalable level.Always-on means always engagedIoT provides the always-on connectivity needed to establish an ongoing services relationship with your customers. But this connectivity is merely a means to an end, enabling you to learn and understand how customers are using those products, to learn about the environment in which those products operate, and ultimately use those learnings to find new ways to deliver value.A packaged food distributor can use a connected vending machine to understand the buying patterns of their customers and ensure that the right snacks are stocked at appropriate times to maximize their sales. A heavy machinery manufacturer can offer a “zero downtime” service that analyzes machine performance and makes sure 3rd party suppliers have parts on hand just in time for replacement. That manufacturer can monetize both the value added service as well as the partner relationship, again by constantly listening to their end users.So, what best practices should you keep in mind as you bridge the gap from merely connecting devices to achieving business outcomes through a real-time conversation with customers?1. Think about scaleAs you plan your IoT business it’s important to select IoT solutions and business partners that will enable you to scale your connected services over time. Start by selecting a networking strategy that has global reach so that you can quickly and cost-effectively expand your IoT services into new countries as customer demand dictates. In many cases, using the mobile network is an obvious choice. It is ubiquitous, reliable, secure and increasingly cost-effective. Simultaneously, selecting an IoT connectivity management platform that is widely deployed and deeply integrated into the mobile networks worldwide ensures your IoT service is ready for global deployment and scale.2. Embrace the cloudCloud-based IoT platforms will give you the flexibility and efficiency to get to market quickly with your IoT services. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model of such platforms means your connected services can be agile, benefitting from rapid cycles of innovation and the on-demand scale of cloud-based implementations.3. Automate, automate, automateIoT and digital transformation is nothing if not characterized by business process automation. Managing connected devices should not get in the way of figuring out how to deliver value out of the conversation. A properly designed IoT platform lets you do just that. Whether it is provisioning the connected services, diagnosing service performance or managing ongoing costs, an IoT platform can automate away many of those tasks, freeing you up to manage your core business. In short, let connectivity work for you – not the other way around – as you uncover new sources of revenue.Starting that IoT conversationIt’s important to remember that IoT is not solely about things being connected, it’s about the services you can enable through that connectivity. And those services provide the foundation for an ongoing conversation and relationship with your customers that enables you to continuously adapt and better meet their needs over time.For this reason, companies that focus first on the tactics of connecting their products – instead of the services they plan to deliver and the ongoing conversation those services enable with their customers – often end up having to refine their strategy later on. Instead, begin by identifying the services that you want to deliver to your customers to enhance their experiences, then invest in an IoT strategy that lets you focus on that always-on conversation. Follow the Puck Tags:#cloud#featured#Intel#IoT#Jasper#saas#top Related Posts How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua…
Related Posts Ryan Matthew Pierson Tags:#Ashley Madison#Avid Life Media#Big Data#data security#Internet of Things#IoT Follow the Puck How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… With incidents of data breaches and other data protection issues on the rise, researchers are looking into just how much we can expect data protection disputes to rise in the next five years. This is the focus of a recent research study conducted by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London in coordination with Pinsent Masons law firm.The study found that disputes resulting from data and security breaches is expected to rise by as much as 191% in the next five years alone. 67% of respondents indicated that data breaches caused by employees was very common. This is compared to 70% that stated third parties are at least somewhat commonly responsible.The study, which was conducted with 340 legal experts from around the world, also found that data protection disputes are also expected to increase as much as 104%.Data protection issues currently make up 13% of all telecoms, media and technology (TMT) disputes. This increase would have a huge impact on IT companies’ bottom lines.The importance of substantial data protectionFor any company that deals with data of a significant and/or personal nature, data security and the legal costs that come with it are a big deal. When a large corporation such as a bank or a retail giant suffers a breach of its data stores, thousands and even millions of people are affected.Information such as a person’s name, email address, financial information, health records, and passwords can be bought and sold on the black market quickly after it has been illegally obtained. This information can lead to a cascade of problems for the individual, including identity theft and financial ruin.This became shockingly true for the 30 million people that used the popular infidelity site, Ashley Madison. A data breach on its servers had fallout that went well beyond simple identity theft. News of the breach, and the resulting data dump that outed thousands of government employees and officials in the United States alone, resulted in suicides and countless incidents of extortion.For Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, the companies behind Ashley Madison, this breach could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from class-action lawsuits being filed in several countries.The challenge of protecting IoT dataOver the past year, the security of the Internet of Things has been brought into question. The widespread outage of popular websites like Amazon and Twitter that occurred in 2016 happened because IoT devices. These devices transmit and receive sometimes sensitive information, were found susceptible to malicious software injection.Our home’s security systems, medical devices, and even our cars are becoming full-fledged computers with Internet connections. The type of data they gather and send to the cloud ranges from innocuous status updates to live video streams.Protecting the IoT is paramount to preserving the security of its users’ data and the financial well being of their creators. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces
Related Posts Software performance testing is vital for determining how a system will perform under various loads and conditions. Performance testing does not seek to identify defects or bugs but instead measures performance in relation to benchmarks and standards. It helps developers identify and diagnose bottlenecks. Once bottlenecks are identified and mitigated, it’s possible to increase performance.Performance testing differs from functional testing, which focuses on individual functions of the software. This includes interface testing, sanity testing, and unit testing. More or less, testers check to ensure that functions are carried out properly and serve their purpose.Performance testing, on the other hand, tests the readiness and overall performance of the software and the hardware it runs on. As such, performance testing is typically conducted after functional testing.Ultimately, poor performance can drive users and customers away. In its turn, sound performance testing will help you identify areas for improvement.5 Essential Aspects of Performance TestingIt’s important to identify and test several performance aspects of the software under load. Doing so will help you detect bottlenecks and other potential issues. Let’s examine five of the most commonly tested metrics.Load Testing: it examines how a system performs as the workload increases. Workload can refer to the volume of conducted transactions or concurrent users under normal working conditions. Load testing also measures response time.Soak Testing: also known as endurance testing, soak testing is an assessment of how the software performs over an extended period of time under a normal workload. This test is used to identify system problems, such as issues with database resource utilization or log file handles.Scalability Testing: it tests software performance under gradual increases in workloads, or changes in resources, such as memory, under a stable workload.Stress Testing: it measures how a system will perform outside of normal working conditions. For example, how will the system respond when faced with more transactions or concurrent users than intended? This helps to measure its stability and enable developers to identify a breaking point. Stress testing also allows developers to see how the software recovers from failure.Spike Testing: this is a specific type of stress testing that demonstrates the software response when this software is repeatedly hit with large, quick increases in load.Performance Testing Step by StepMost of your time is going to be spent planning the test rather than running it. Once you run the test, most of the work is handled by the hardware. Of course, after results are generated, you’ll have to analyze the output. Now let’s examine the performance testing process step by step.Identify the Test EnvironmentTo get started, you’ll need to identify the physical test environment, including hardware and network configurations. You’ll also need to have the software set up. By understanding the test environment and matching it as closely as possible to real-world conditions, the test itself will be more accurate and provide better insights.Know Your Performance Acceptance CriteriaYou should know what goals you want to reach. This means determining the acceptable levels of response time, resource utilization, and throughput. Also, consider various configurations that could affect performance.Plan and Design Tests to Identify Key ScenariosNext, you need to identify key scenarios based on the anticipated real-world use. Different users will generate different demands. It’s important to account for as many of them as possible by determining variability among representative users. Once variability is determined, it’s important to simulate the conditions and to test the performance correspondingly.Configure the Test EnvironmentNow it’s time to revisit the test environment and to set up the monitoring structure. This step will be highly dependent on your software, hardware, and other factors. Review your work to make sure there are no errors.Execute the Test and Gather DataOnce the test is set up, it’s up to your hardware and software to carry it out. Make sure you gather data and closely observe the test as it unfolds.Digest the ResultsIn a sense, the real work doesn’t begin until the performance test is completed. Once you’ve gathered data, you’ll need to analyze the results. Pay attention to bottlenecks, critical failures and any abnormalities. Also, run the test again to ensure that performance is consistent.Some Best Practices to Keep in MindWhen setting up your test environment, you need to consider how your software will perform in the real world. Take into account the variety of devices and client environments, such as different web browsers, that will be used to access your software. Also, don’t start your test from the boot-up as most people will be using your platform while it is already under load.Further, set a baseline for user experience. Performance data is vital. However, the most important question is “how satisfied are the users?” Understand how decreasing performance will detrimentally impact them.Conclusion: Be Ready to Start OverOnce the first round of the test is completed, you’ll be able to identify potential bottlenecks and other issues. These problems should be addressed. This may mean changing hardware or rewriting code, among other things.However, every time something is changed, it’s important to conduct another performance test to see if results have improved. By doing so, it’s possible to incrementally improve and maximize the performance of the software and corresponding hardware. Milos Mudric Follow the Puck Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Milos Mudric is a content specialist and tech enthusiast. He is the founder of Silver Fox Digital and SEObrainiac.com and he occasionally writes interesting stories about Blockchain, IoT and Fintech. Tags:#app development#app testing
AI is Not the Holy Grail of Sales, at Least Not… Jasika Adams is a writer with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of human resources, startups and business management. She is a talent acquisition manager currently associated with Index Time Clock. In her free time, she loves to play with her kids and reading mystery books. Related Posts Jasika Adams Marketing is really what drives your business forward. But, most marketing activities are tough, tedious, time-consuming, and expensive. Yes, it can be dreadful thinking about all that you must undertake to complete your marketing tasks. But, you must invest in it somehow to keep moving forward. The best way to handle your sales and ads is to automate your marketing campaigns, preferably with artificial intelligence and live chat software. Content is King but engagement is Queen, and the lady rules the house. – Mari SmithWays to automate your marketing.Delivering the right message at the right time is essential to increasing your ROI. So much so, 77% of businesses are believed to have witnessed a rise in conversions since they started using automation. So, here are a few ways you could accomplish that: 1. Artificial Intelligence.The most powerful tool in the hands of a business owner or a marketing manager is artificial intelligence. Chatbots are no longer just for techs. It is a tech that, in the hands of marketers, can make businesses flourish, giving the extra-special human touch, even without having to spend on additional customer service staff. What’s even better is that bots never go wrong, and never spend time thinking over what the response should be, or even on normal human activities, like taking regular breaks during working hours. They are always there to respond to client/customer queries every minute of the day, as long as you keep the systems running. AI can follow shopper behavior to offer necessary suggestions on products and services that customers may have shown interest in. Shoppers can also ask chatbots specific details about products in stock, request to be notified when a product is available or even get suggestions based on past purchases.2. Live Chat Software.You can boost sales with live chat services too. There are quite a few live chat software options available in the market to choose from. These applications can make marketing activities quicker and more efficient. Live chats improve sales in several ways. Here are a few ideas: Generate quality leads by engaging prospects in real time, customizing messages, shortening sales funnel, improving lead nurturing, increasing conversions.Building the mail list from web visitors whom you managed to engage on live chat with offers or the like. You can request for the visitor’s email ID by promising to reply to his or her queries in detail. He/she may not have bought your product, but you can keep urging them to do so via emails.Mine chat transcripts to analyze customer trends, preferences, behavior and insights. These can be successfully utilized to chalk out a new strategy or test out a current one.Personalized conversations always please customers. This is where you can efficiently use live chat software to cater to every customer’s specific needs, even while automating your marketing processes. This software is a mix of both live and chatbots. The initial part of the conversation is dealt with by the bots, while the customer relations executive can engage with another customer who has already asked questions that go beyond the purview of bots.Better than CTAs, since with CTAs on your landing page you can only hope that your customers would take action if they feel like it. But with live chat software, you can ensure you have got your customers’ attention and engage them long enough for them to decide if they will go ahead and buy your products or hire your services.3. Email Marketing.Email marketing is still one of the best means of reaching out to your audience. And if you don’t have to send every one of them manually, even better. Automated emails make life easier while ensuring that it will appeal to your customers, pique their interest, and increase revenue.Once your intended customers have been added to your email list, they should receive regular emails, informing them of the recent offers, changes in policy, latest collections, their latest transactions, and recent page visits, etc. All these emails depending on the stage your leads are in. Remember: Each mail should have a call to action. Depending on which stage your leads are in, always end your emails by urging them to do something. It may be to view the latest collection or to read what the media has to say about you, or even to contact you for further queries. Email automation can also be used to wish customers on their birthdays with coupons or remind them when it’s time to reorder supplies.4. Inbox Filtering.Throughout the day, an innumerable number of emails keep bombarding your inbox, most of which would inevitably be junk. You may end up exhausted, checking through every mail to make sure you don’t miss out on important ones, and in turn, also waste a lot of precious time that should have been spent strategizing your next plan. It’s best to automate your inbox. You can set this up with any email service provider by setting rules domain message authentication, reporting, and conformance, (DMARC Policy) for your inbox.5. Social Media Marketing.The adage “Content is King” totally fits this area of marketing. But, what good is an engaging piece of content, if you don’t share it often enough or at a time when your customers may be paying attention?There are quite a few ‘third-party services,’ like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, that can provide you with scheduled social media posts ahead of time.Most social media platforms have scheduling options.Some apps also come with options to schedule auto-responses to certain requests from customers, including Facebook’s seller section.Incorporate easy email marketing strategies with your Facebook efforts to see more significant results — profits. AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Tags:#automate Amy Porterfield5. Marketing Analytics.Set up automated analytics to monitor successes or losses. Don’t spend time on physically investigating analytics. Start with a list of key performance indicators, KPIs that are specific to your marketing goals and then find software that will do the job for you. Cyfe is a great tool as it incorporates multiple platforms/software (Google Analytics, Facebook, Moz, Salesforce, etc.) to track all digital marketing campaign activity on one dashboard.6. CRM Tracking.Invest in a CRM tracker to track your calls, emails, meetings, etc. for each customer. This will be both time-saving and beneficial for customer service. Quite a few CRM options are available that you can utilize to connect with all your different processes to automate them.Final Thoughts.You have only 24 hours in a day. How many tasks can you do on your own? Wouldn’t it be great if some things were done for you? Even better, if you didn’t have to pay those working hands a monthly salary? With marketing automation, you can decrease human error and make marketing initiatives more repeatable and consistent. So, don’t think twice about it. Freeing your hands from unnecessary, menial tasks is really in your hands. Reasons to Outsource General Counsel Services f… Trends Driving the Loyalty Marketing Industry
By Carol ChurchIn part 1 of this series, we talked about the important reasons why adult children need to talk about money and finances with aging parents. In this follow-up, we’ll get more specific as to how to make this conversation a little easier, as well as what to discuss.brfcs via Pixabay.com, CC0Experts suggest having this conversation on parents’ “home turf” at a time that is relaxed and neutral. This means avoiding big occasions like holidays, if possible. It may also be better to have a series of short talks rather than one long discussion. Children probably want to bring up the topic in advance so parents don’t feel blindsided and have a little time to prepare, talk amongst themselves, and locate documents.Consider who should be included. Would spouses of adult children be a good addition, or not? On the one hand, they may be seen as intruders, but on the other, their presence may motivate people to be polite.If parents are resistant, it may help to say that this topic is concerning you and that having the conversation will help you and allow you not to worry. Most mothers and fathers want their children to feel happy and will be at least somewhat open to this.Topics to Cover:Talk about how to know where the information isThere are many important documents whose location someone will eventually need to know. While it is not necessary for adult children to see and view all these items ahead of time, they at least need to know where to find a letter of instructions that explains where this information is. These essential papers and details include, but are not limited to:Marriage licenses, divorce papers, birth and death certificatesInsurance policies (health, life, and property)Social security cards and documentsBank account numbers and detailsInvestment and retirement account numbers and detailsHouse deed and mortgage informationFuneral and burial wishes, including details such as burial plot purchasesElectronic account details, such as a list of important passwords and sites frequently usedMilitary records and discharge papersCredit card account information, as well as account information for other recurring bills and accountsMake sure essential plans have been madeThe best-case scenario is for older adults to have all of the following in place. By the way, this applies to adult children, too. It may strengthen your case if you can tell them you have your own “house” in order.A willDying without a will leads to many complications for family members and can tie up assets for a long period during the probate process. Dying intestate (with no will) also means one cannot make any specifications as to what is done with money and belongings; the court makes these decisions based on the laws of your state.A health care proxyA healthcare proxy is a legal document designating someone to make healthcare decisions for a person who is not able to make decisions for her or himself. While these decisions may include deciding when to end life support, they also cover other choices about health care, such as where the person will receive care, what procedures he or she will have, and so on.A durable power of attorney for financesSimilar to a healthcare proxy, but for finances, this legal document names someone who can access the money and financial information of a person who is not competent to do so him or herself. If a POA has not been appointed and someone is no longer competent, a court will have to appoint someone to take on this task.A generalized estate planThough many families may think their assets are too few to require any assistance, experts advise that most people will benefit from creating a formal estate plan with the assistance of a financial planner. In some cases, a lawyer’s help will also be needed. Various DIY and online options also exist, but they may or may not be adequate or customized to your state.Talk more broadly about the financial situationIt’s often important to ensure that parents have enough money to get by and are not in danger of outliving their assets, even if major medical costs come their way. What will happen if they need daily in-home care? What if they need to move to a community that offers more services? Do they have long-term care insurance or sufficient assets to pay for this, or might it be necessary for them to move in with children, sell the house (or get a reverse mortgage) or get financial help from family? How do they feel about the various living options?On the flip side, if there are substantial assets, or if family has the belief that there are, it may be crucial to explain now what the situation is. For instance, perhaps trusts have been set up, a large charitable donation will be made, or a business will be split up or dissolved. Those with large estates may want to discuss strategies to avoid tax burden at the end of life.Another topic to discuss, if needed: how are they coping with organizing bills and papers and managing their financial needs? For some people, this is difficult at the best of times. For others, it has become overwhelming with age or poor health. They might welcome some assistance.Talk more generally about end of lifeThis is not a “money” topic, but usually ends up intertwined with these concerns due to the likelihood that those addressing a will and other estate issues will also consider end of life wishes. Encourage parents to talk about what they want as far as healthcare measures and to make those wishes known via a living will or advance directive. One easy place to get started is Five Wishes.Again, these conversations may not be easy. The subject is tempting to want to avoid, and no time may feel like the right time to bring it up. But talking about these issues now will make matters much easier later on. The resources below may help.Resources:Family Caregiver AllianceFive WishesThe Conversation ProjectA Place for Mom: Financial DiscussionsReferences:Fowler, K. (2016). Caring for Elderly Parents’ Estate and Finances. Retrieved from http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2-17-16-caring-for-elderly-parents-finances/Gillen, M., Mitchell, V., & Turner, J. (2015). Estate planning. Retrieved from http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy446Goetting, M., & Schmall, V. (2017). Talking with aging parents about finances. Retrieved from http://msuextension.org/publications/FamilyFinancialManagement/MT199324HR.pdfLawrence, B. Want control at the end of your life? Here’s what you need. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/decisions-future-documents-need-2/National Endowment for Financial Education. (2017). Prepare for Financial Changes as Family Members Ag. Retrieved from https://www.smartaboutmoney.org/Topics/Retirement-and-Aging/Aging-and-Money/Financial-Changes-as-Family-Members-AgeMerrill Edge. (n.d.) 5 tips for talking with your aging parents about their finances and health. Retrieved from https://www.merrilledge.com/article/5-tips-talking-with-your-aging-parents-about-their-finances-and-health
Get up to speed with the new features in Lightworks 11.5 with these quick walk-through tutorials.The latest version of Lightworks brings some great new features to this serious editing application. As of yet it’s still only for Windows and Linux, but the Mac version will appear (hopefully) this year. If you’ve not heard of Lightworks before, it is the only professional level non-linear editing software that is free to download.The free version is fully functional, but will only allow you to export to Youtube or Vimeo at 720p. The paid for professional version now comes in three payment options:Monthly – $7.99/£4.99Annually – $79.99/£49.99One-time fee – $279.99/£179.99New Features in Lightworks 11.5There are new features allowing for the customization of the user interface, including support for Retina Displays, modifying colors of the program, fonts and more. There are a huge number of new features which allow for a much greater range of flexibility and customizations to the editor’s personal preference (which I for one am a big fan of). There is now also support for AJA I/O devices (Kona and Io XT). These first two videos walk you through all the new user interface related features and their implications for using the software.Background Tasks in Lightworks 11.5You can now import, generate waveforms, render and export in the background. These features are incredibly helpful time-savers and it’s great to see them in this version.In this next video you can see how the new export options function. Export profiles allow you to export to presets in just a few clicks. The new preset in Lightworks is for direct upload to your Youtube account. Great for client reviews if that’s how you do it.Multicam Editing in Lightworks 11.5Lightworks allows you to create ‘sync groups’ (the Lightworks term for multicam functionality) and perform multicam editing tasks in a very quick and efficient way.Updated Effects in Lightworks 11.5Additionally, the built-in effects have been updated in 11.5, with a new curves based color correction tool. Lightworks also ships with numerous preset looks for quickly applying a specific style. A lot of the new features in Lightworks can be accessed in a new, right-click method.The last Lightworks feature that we’re excited about is the ability to make use of ‘macros’ to automate multiple keystrokes into one set of instructions (demonstrated in the next video). Carefully programmed macros can provide a huge efficiency boost for repetitive tasks.For a full list of all the new features in 11.5 download this PDF and check out the official announcement from Lightworks.
Hot Holiday Video Production Deals: LensesSigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Zoom Lens: $369 ($669)B&H is cutting $300 from the price of the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 lens for DSLRs. The quiet autofocus is one of the standout features of this great piece of glass.Rokinon T1.5 Cine Lens Bundle: $1,247 ($1,447)This Rokinon Lens Bundle features 24, 35, and 85mm lenses, all in one package. The aperture and focus scales are now on the side of the lenses, making the focus puller’s (or your) job much easier. As far EF-mount lenses go, these lenses are top notch and produce quite the image.Hot Holiday Video Production Deals: DronesWith the recent release of the Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic, and Inspire 2 (and that’s not even mentioning the Kharma drama), it’s tougher than ever to choose the right drone for your lifestyle. Of course, knocking a few bucks off the price helps.Right now it looks like eBay might have the best deal on drones. With Black Friday approaching, the word is that the Phantom 4 will be listed for $899 instead of the usual $1499. And that’s just the tip of the rumor iceberg.DJI Phantom 4: $1,199 ($1,299)With the Mavic possibly backordered until February, you can take to the skies immediately with the Phantom 4 for $100 less than usual. Check out our full review of the Phantom 4 and why it’s definitely worth your consideration.Phantom 3: $499 ($799)This is the most basic version DJI currently has to offer — and even if you aren’t particularly that interested in owning a drone, the UAV’s low $500 price tag makes it a deal that’s tough to pass up.Hot Holiday Video Production Deals: AccessoriesTASCAM DR-40 4-Track Portable Digital Recorder: $149 ($179.99)Amazon and B&H are chopping prices on all kinds of TASCAM products, including the handy DR-40. If you’re in need of an external audio recorder or any minor accessories that go with audio recording, now’s the time to jump.Dell UltraSharp U2715H 27˝ Screen LED-Lit Monitor: $429.99 ($649.99)Video editors searching for a quality monitor at a decent price should take note of this 27˝ ultra-wide Dell monitor — now $200 cheaper.Davis & Sanford Magnum P343 Aluminum Tripod with Ball Head: $129.95 ($249.95)This tripod is a steal. The huge cut in price, combined with the device’s durability, make it a must-have this holiday season. Really, you can never have too many tripods on deck while in the field.Retailer SpecialsSome of the biggest names in the video space are offering up the goods for the holidays. On December 6th, Red Giant is offering 40% off of EVERYTHING. For ONE DAY ONLY. So don’t mess around. Plus, B&H is currently running all kinds of crazy sales on a rotating selection of video gear. Definitely worth checking out!If you’re looking for additional Black Friday/holiday-related deals, give these retailers a visit for good prices on filmmaking gear and on-set essentials:Home DepotLowesB&H Photo VideoAdoramaAmazonBest BuyTargeteBay Know of any other must-have holiday deals? Share in the comments below! The holidays are finally here! These great deals, discounts, and sales will make it easy to give the gift of essential video gear.Top image via DSLR BuzzGood news for anyone living the film and video life: Retailers are rolling out their end-of-the-year deals just as the holiday shopping season takes off. Whether its saving $100 on a new MacBook Pro or snagging a 64GB SD card for $5 less than usual, every little bit helps. Here are some of the better deals we found while browsing for holiday bargains.Hot Holiday Video Production Deals: CamerasPanasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera: $1,197.99 ($1,497.99)One of the best Mirrorless cameras currently on the market, now’s the time to scoop up the GH4. Given the announcement of the upcoming GH5, the price will most likely stay around $1,100, so its never a bad idea to be ahead of the curve.Sony Alpha a7R II Mirrorless Digital Camera: $2798 ($3199)Serving as Sony’s top-tier camera, the a7R is perfect for everything — the photos look stunning, and the videos look professional. With its full-frame CMOS sensor, this E-mount camera is versatile enough for videographers both in the field and in the studio.Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR Camera: $2,499 ($2,799)Canon’s cutting prices up and down its DSLR lineup, so there’s never been a better time to add the timeless Mark III to your arsenal. Already got one? Here are a few other Canon DSLR deals you might like.Canon 80D Bundle: $1,399 ($1,799)Canon Rebel T5 Bundle: $449Canon 70D: $899 ($1199)
Standard VignettesThe first method is very simple; you’ll need Premiere Pro CC. Go into the Lumetri presets drop-down menu and click Vignette.Under Amount, drag your slider to the left, shifting your numbers to a negative value. This will add a vignette that surrounds your frame. Usually, there’s a sweet spot between -3.0 and -1.3.Shaped VignettesThe second method is a little trickier.You’ll first have to create a new black video layer and apply it over your footage.Then go into your effects panel and under Opacity, select the Circle Matte option. For the best results, create an oval that fits the subject you want to focus on.Once you’ve created your shape, press Invert. Next, adjust your Feathering options so that the edges of your shape are nice and soft.Continue to adjust the Feathering, and then adjust your Opacity to ensure your vignette isn’t too intense. You can also play with your Expansion parameters to adjust the scale and size. Vignettes are a great way to add subtle emphasis to your footage. Find out how with these three approaches.Top image via Shutterstock.One of the simplest ways to improve your visuals is to apply a vignette in post. Vignettes are a subtle way to direct your audience’s eyes to a specific subject in the frame, such as a landscape or a small object. There are three different ways I create my vignettes, so let’s take a look. Masked VignettesThe Final method is the most difficult one, but probably one of the most effective when it comes to interviews and narratives.Go into your effects bin and drag the brightness contrast effect on top of your footage.Next slide your brightness down so that your image gets really dark. Then bring up your contrast so that the darker tones in your shot don’t look too crushed.Once you’ve found a sweet spot, create a mask using the pen tool. The trick is to create the shape of your subject.Once the mask is ready, invert your selection so that the darker layer outlines your subject.Now feather the edges. I like to really crank my feathering to the max so that the mask is almost transparent. As above, you can adjust your opacity and expansion so that your vignette fits your image perfectly.Vignettes are a great way to enhance and sometimes save your footage. Keep in mind it’s their job to direct attention to your subject, not the other way around. Vignettes are most effective when you hide them in plain sight.
1. MoonlightAny time you’re shooting exteriors at night and need a blue tint to your shot, consider using a cyan or blue gel over your daylight-balanced LED. This will give your shot a moody, mysterious bluish tint, creating the appearance of a moonlit scene. You don’t have to use this only for exterior shoots; you could also point your light down through a window for that nighttime silhouette shot you’ve always wanted.2. Party ScenesOne of the most stressful shoots you’ll ever encounter is an extra-filled party scene. The coordination and timing are feats in and of themselves, so nailing the lighting and the camerawork is just an additional frustration. When lighting a party scene, consider using gels you can quickly turn around for an added sense of flash and unpredictability. Once you’ve figured out the appropriately contrasted colors to work with, coordinate with your crew to figure how how they can adjust the lights however you see fit.3. SunsetsThere’s nothing better than capturing that perfect shot during golden hour. However, the problem with “golden hour” is how brief it is. So, consider stacking your 1/2 CTO on top of your Straw gel, and then put this on top of your tungsten LED. This will give you a slightly tinted-yet-warm light that mimics a dreamy Malick-esque look.4. CandlelightCapturing perfect candlelight or firelight is one of the most difficult shots to pull off — especially if you’re working with a super tight budget. So, to recreate flames burning in a dark setting, place one or two full CTO gels over your tungsten LED. Then dim the lights and bring them back up to simulate a flame. If you want an even more realistic effect, wave a cucoloris in front of the light.5. Reds and BluesThese two colors are powerful enough to suggest serious tonal shifts and emotional cues to the audience. One can signify both romance and tension. While the other can simulate feelings of loneliness or seduction. The two opposing colors can also work wonders when spilled into each other (which is becoming a popular trend in many shows and movies).6. Urban JungleCityscapes at night have traditionally appeared on camera with a yellowish, florescent streetlight look. To achieve this look, try using oranges and greens (specifically Sodium Vapor Orange and Green) to bring out a barren cityscape. Ted suggests using a cyan blue at the same time to recreate some of your favorite desaturated looks from science fiction films.For more on lighting and working with gels, check out our past coverage here:Lighting 101 A quick Guide for Lighting FilmLighting a Scene Solely with Practicals7 Steps for Lighting a SceneQuick Lighting Tip: Carry the Lamp Here are some techniques for simulating different lighting temperatures and shapes using gels.Top image via A24.Determining lighting and color temperatures, which gels look best, and which gear to use are considerations you don’t want to leave until the last minute on set. There are a few situations wherein you won’t have time to match the correct lighting of the sun — or to figure out a new way to capture a certain aesthetic for your film. Aputure brings us a stellar look at how you can recreate some difficult lighting setups with the use of a few different gels.
You need to keep a clean pipeline. There is no benefit to cluttered pipeline full of junk.You might let your pipeline get messy because you are too lazy to invest a half hour cleaning it up, but that’s not probably true. The real reason you don’t clean it up is that you would lose the sense of security that comes with having a nice, full pipeline of opportunities. But unless your pipeline is clean, the sense of security it provides is a false sense of security.You’ll Have Something to Talk AboutIt’s embarrassing to work in sales and not have deals to talk about. There are pipeline review meetings, forecast meetings, and opportunity reviews. You can’t show up with nothing. You need something to talk about. You need to show you are working on something, even if it is really a non-opportunity. Without opportunities, you are exposed.A pipeline full of non-opportunities is usually the sign of a prospecting problem. The clutter is normally a list of receptive contacts or leads with little potential to buy. Their receptivity means that they are willing to talk to you about their business and what you sell, but it doesn’t mean that you have a real opportunity. It’s not enough.If you talk about the same prospects over and over again without any real movement to speak of, these non-opportunities are really just providing you with a false sense of security. They don’t belong in your pipeline.I Don’t Want to Miss OutSome of what is in your pipeline may be companies that used to use a lot of what you sell. They used to be your dream client. But their business changed, and now they no longer use as much of what you sell—or maybe they don’t use any at all.When you visit with these former dream clients, they share an optimistic vision of their future. Someday soon, they tell you, they will come roaring back from their downturn. They are full of hope and confidence. Just like they’ve been over the last three years. But, no movement.You hope they do come back from their downturn. And you want to be there when they do. So you spend a lot of time with them so you know you are first in line to get orders when they come back to life. You don’t want to miss out.The uncomfortable truth is, you aren’t missing out on anything. Past users, regardless of how much they spent, aren’t opportunities. Their past isn’t always an indication of their future. And keeping clients that fit this description in your pipeline is about you having a full pipeline, not about you having a real pipeline.QuestionsHow old are some of the opportunities in your pipeline?How many conversations have you had about opportunities that still haven’t moved?Do you have what used to be good prospects in your pipeline? Prospects that haven’t spent in your category in years and no longer have a need to?How do these non-opportunities provide you with a false sense of security?What do you have to do to have real confidence?